You only thought you knew how to barbecue for the Fourth of July.

From chef Isaac Toups, of Toups Meatery in New Orleans, comes these recipes that just might make you forget all about hamburgers and hot dogs.

Toups shares how he cooks a Grilled Double-Cut Pork Chop with Cane Gastrique.

This is not a last-minute dish. The chops need to sit in the brine for 24 hours. However, the grill time is short, as is a brief stop in the oven.

The chef serves the chops with dirty rice and grilled vegetables bathed in a delicious bacon vinaigrette.

"Char the hell out of some on the grill and then toss them in a bacon vinaigrette. These are vegetables so unhealthy a Cajun might actually eat them," Toups says.

"You can do this dish year-round," he adds, "with whatever is in season: eggplant and zucchini, radishes, green beans, radicchio or others. If the vegetable is sliceable, slice it. If it's broccoli or cauliflower, cut into quarter-size florets; if green beans, leave them whole."

Grilled Double-Cut Pork Chop with Cane Gastrique

Makes 4 servings. Recipe is by chef Isaac Toups, Toups Meatery.


2 20-ounce bone-in double-cut pork chops (not frenched)

1 gallon water

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 cup kosher salt

2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns

4 bay leaves

Ice (lots of it)


1 cup cane syrup (or molasses)

1 cup cane vinegar (or cider vinegar)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter (½ stick)

For Serving

Dirty Rice

Sliced green onions, for garnish

1. Brine the chops: Combine water, sugar, salt, pepper and bay leaves in a large pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, then give it a good stir to make sure all the salt and sugar are dissolved. In a 3-gallon food-safe bucket, add the brine and enough ice until you have exactly 1½ gallons of brine. Once the brine is cold, place the pork chops in brine, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. Remove the chops from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Season heavily with more salt and fresh ground black pepper.

2. Make the gastrique: In a saucepan, combine the cane syrup and cane vinegar. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the liquid has reduced to 1 cup, about 20 minutes. (There’s no need to stir, but watch closely as it likes to burn.) You can make in larger batches, the shelf life is pretty much infinite. Store in a sealed jar; it does not need to be refrigerated.

3. Grill the chops: Preheat the grill to high. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grill all sides of pork chop (even bone side) for 2 to 3 minutes on each side to get really hard grill marks. Put the pork chops in a roasting pan and top each with 2 tablespoons of butter. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes, until 135 F internal temperature (for medium) or preferred temperature. Allow the chops to rest for 3 minutes in the pan. Then right before you serve, dip them on all sides in the juices and the butter that’s left in the pan.

4. To serve: Serve immediately. Place the dirty rice on a platter, place the warm pork chops on top, and drizzle ¼ cup gastrique generously over the top of each. Garnish with sliced green onion.

Grilled Garden Vegetables with Bacon Vinaigrette

Makes 4 servings. Recipe is by chef Isaac Toups, Toups Meatery.

8 slices thick-cut bacon

5 cloves garlic, peeled

3 anchovy filets

½ cup apple cider vinegar

½ cup canola oil

1 pound assorted vegetables, cut into ¼-inch slices

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the grill to high (about 500 F). Preheat the oven to 400 F.

2. Place bacon slices on a rimmed baking sheet and cook in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the bacon is crispy. Remove the bacon and reserve the baking sheet with the rendered fat. Crumble the bacon and set aside.

3. In a blender, combine the garlic, anchovies and vinegar and put the lid on. Turn the blender on and slowly drizzle in the canola oil. (This is never going to be a fully emulsified vinaigrette, so don’t fret if it looks like it’s breaking.) Add the reserved bacon fat (about 1 tablespoon, but if you have more from cooking your bacon, just toss it all in) and keep the blender buzzing for 5 seconds to combine all the ingredients. Keep warm. (I like to put it in a metal container, like a mixing bowl, and keep it by the grill while I cook the vegetables.) The vinaigrette doesn’t need to be hot, just not too cold because the bacon fat will congeal if you let it.

4. In a large bowl or on a rimmed baking sheet, toss the vegetables with the salt, pepper, pepper flakes and olive oil. Place the vegetables on the hot grill in a single layer and cook on each side for about 2 minutes. They should char on the outside while keeping the crunch or snap of fresh crudités. They should be really crispy and charred, not all wimpy and overcooked; high heat is key here.

5. Remove the vegetables from the grill and put in a nonreactive bowl.

6. Toss the grilled vegetables in the bacon vinaigrette. Top with the crumbled bacon. Serve.